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Differences between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist

While the word optometrist may sound familiar to many ears, the word ophthalmologist rolls off the tongue a bit rough and might be cause for confusion. Thankfully, there are ways and means of discovering the differences between the two closely related professions.

One of the many differences between an Ophthalmologist and an optometrist is that an Ophthalmologist is skilled to perform eye surgery such as cataract, keratoconus, or laser surgery. These surgeries are either performed in theatre, the doctor’s rooms, or at an eye and laser clinic. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists in what they can diagnose and treat.

With that said, here are a few key distinctions that make an Ophthalmologist different from an optometrist.

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WHAT IS AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST?
An Ophthalmologist is an eye specialist who specialises in eye care, specifically medical, surgical, and optical. An Ophthalmologist is trained in all aspects of the eye and is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. Ophthalmologists can treat all eye diseases, perform surgery such as cataract surgery and prescribe contacts lenses and glasses.

Here are some more facts about Ophthalmologists.

  • They have to complete five years of med school.
  • Two more years of internship.
  • An additional year of community service is spent servicing the eye care needs of the community.
  • Last but not least, four years of hospital-based training. Medically treating and diagnosing patients and also performing eye surgeries.

Now that the role of an Ophthalmologist is cleared up, here is a look at the role of an optometrist.

WHAT IS AN OPTOMETRIST?
An optometrist is licensed to practice optometry and not medicine. The role of an optometrist is to examine the eyes and determine the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses and prescribe them. Optometrists do not perform corrective eye surgery. An optometrist completes four years of study to work in this field.

While the differences between optometrists and ophthalmologists are many, both are equally important for the health of your eyes. To keep your eyes healthy, clear, and focused, book yourself an appointment with our ophthalmologist in Johannesburg and invest in the health of your eyes today.

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